Shell cordovan leather can be hard to find and expensive. As such, it’s a good idea to make the best use out of every square inch of the material that you can. The question is, “what are the best products to make using genuine shell cordovan leather?”
Before answering that question, it’s important to know a little bit about shell cordovan leather. The characteristics of cordovan leather help make it suitable for very specific products.
The Properties of Shell Cordovan
First, shell cordovan leather typically comes in oval-shaped pieces that are approximately 2.5 square feet in size. This size and shape means that cordovan leather is better suited for making smaller objects rather than larger ones—especially if you want to avoid having to stitch several pieces of leather together.
Second, shell cordovan leather is naturally scratch resistant. The leather is made from the dense flat muscle tissue from the rump of a horse, so it’s highly durable. This durability makes cordovan leather especially well-suited to making items that routinely have to deal with cuffing or scratching.
Third, because of its firmness, cordovan leather has a high tensile strength compared to other leathers. A strap of cordovan leather can bear a heavier load than many other leathers. This makes cordovan leather great for products that may have to bear a load—such as heavy straps.
Fourth, this leather has a shiny, high-gloss surface that can easily be maintained with the use of a specialized conditioner.
Ideal Uses of Shell Cordovan Leather
With the above in mind, some ideal uses for shell cordovan include:
- Shell cordovan leather is just about the perfect size and shape for making footwear—particularly dress shoes. The glossy surface of cordovan leather is easy to shine, and makes for a beautiful shoe. Plus, the durability of cordovan leather helps to protect the surface of the shoe from excessive scratching and scuffing.
- Another ideal use for cordovan leather is in the manufacture of top-class wallets. The panel size needs of a wallet are modest enough that a single piece of leather should be more than enough. In fact, each shell should yield approximately 5-6 standard men's billfold wallets. The durability and high-gloss finish of cordovan are assets that help make a truly outstanding final product, which can endure a lifetime of coming in and out of a pocket.
- Razor Strops. One of the traditional uses of cordovan leather was for making razor strops. For years, barbers would use cordovan leather strops to sharpen their straight-edge razors to a keen edge.
In addition to the above uses, shell cordovan leather is great for many other small accessory items and goods, such as bracelets and straps. If you can find shell cordovan leather, it’s definitely worth trying out at least once, just for the experience of working with a rare, top-of-the-line equine leather.
Need help finding the perfect leather for your next project? Check out the skin calculator below, or contact an expert today!